PhysicalFoursquare – A Flash Player 10.1 Demo App Using the Foursquare API

As you’ve seen, we’re getting close to having a version of Flash Player 10.1 that will be available to the broader public. And a lot of the evangelists have been creating some cool demos of how Flash Player 10.1 behaves on the Nexus One.

I wanted to do something slightly different and build more of a functional application.

I come from a Flex background and so I haven’t spent a lot of time creating ActionScript only projects. And while Flex performs pretty well on Flash Player 10.1, doing an AS3 only project gives it a better shot at running, especially as the application gets more complex. So I went with ActionScript only and created an application that uses the Foursquare API as well as the Geonames database to find and let me check into physical features like mountains, streams, lakes, etc when I’m out hiking and want to still be able to check into Foursquare.

Thoughts on Building for Mobile Flash

As you’ve seen, a lot of Flash content will just work. And because of the AIR for Android packager, a lot of people will just end up building applications and not worry about creating in-browser Flash apps for mobile devices. But I wanted to try it. A few thoughts:

One, the Flex mobile framework can’t come soon enough. I have so much more respect for the old-school Flashers because rolling everything by hand is a pain. And I had it easy because I was dealing with a fixed resolution since I was specifically targeting the Nexus One.

Two, while I didn’t do much in the way of performance tuning, that’s going to be important. These are pretty beefy devices and we’ve done some great optimizations, but for complex Flash content, tuning your code will be central to a good experience.

Three, as Mike Chambers showed, hover content works, but I found it kind of annoying. The way it’s currently set up, the hover event fires after the down event fires. So using SimpleButton the way I normally use it didn’t quite work because the effect was off. I ended up just making the hover state the same as the down state.

Lastly, I was surprised how much just worked. I pulled a LOT of third party content into this application. Keith Peter’s Minimalcomps, the Foursquare AS3 API by Tim Walling, my own AS3 library for Geonames, the Google Maps API, TweenLite, Shannon Hicks OAuthAS3 library – and it all worked just fine. Part of what I wanted to test was how much I could throw at the device and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it all worked even on the beta bits of Flash Player 10.1. So when you target these devices, you’ll be able to use a very similar workflow which I think is important.

To see the application in action, you can check out the video above or test the application in your browser here. You’ll need to have a browser like Firefox 3.6 that supports geolocation and if you check in you’ll be checking in this poor guy. All of the code is available on GitHub and you’re free to do with it what you will. Unfortunately my OAuth implementation was half-assed, so the Foursquare checkin didn’t work, but it works in the browser.

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